Earlier in the year we used a relatively new program called Powtoon. The students LOVED it. We added it as an app to Chrome and went from there. As I have written before, if you have never done what you are asking your kids to do, then you should do it first or along with them. After just messing around with Powtoon I wrote directions assumed it would last three days…six days later we finished. Since I was doing it with them I kept extending the deadline simply because i needed it! There is somewhat of a big learning curve if you want your Powtoon to me more than text, and I think if we use it again the students’ videos would be more reliant on animation and less reliant on text. While we were using it I was thinking I would write a very descriptive post and highly recommend using it in the classroom, but we had way too many problems. Too many kids walked in after days of work and could not log-in, drafts disappeared, and the Powtoon folks must not be in the US. A pleas for help would not answered until the wee hours of the morning…although I must say that every plea for help was answered, but when a kid can’t long in and it takes a few emails to figure out why, three days have passed. We also found it impossible to upload them to youtube and after multiple emails back and forth gave up. The site was in Beta, so I am sure some kinks have been worked out, but since I was one of the people whose worked was lost I felt the sting first hand and it would make me question whether or not to use the site again for a full class project.
I could never even come close to watching all the videos before they posted them, so on the day before they posted the videos each student left their draft open on their desk, and kids rotated through 4-5 Powtoons, watched them, and left comments for the creator.
The Powtoons we did were just simple summaries of the Boston Tea Party or Boston Massacre. Here are two examples…enjoy!